Underwater living… it’s perhaps the start of the lineage of work that many of us have embarked upon, and still remains a vision for the future. “Why?” one might ask…
While the Atlantean dreamscape painted of a life beneath the waves of some utopian tropical paradise flirts with the outskirts of fantasy, the practical side of taking up a subaquatic residence still presents numerous challenges. Human physiology, building materials, ongoing husbandry, life support, power, commerce – all of this, and more, have proven to thwart much scale-able effort in practice, though the dream is still held close by those who see this blue planet from the bottom up. At this bottom line – the world we’ve created is not sustainable for the environment, nor its resources, nor for us. So, for some, undersea habitation may be viewed as an opportunity to run away and a chance to start over, however quite the opposite should be recognized as the true path towards sustainability.
If we were to take to the sea with our only primitive understanding of the principles that keep our world turning and well balanced, the journey is destined for failure. From that perspective, we should be viewing the journey in undersea habitation as a synergistic evolution with these principles in global balance. Our [humans] taking to the sea with some permanence is then an exercise in predeterminism; where as we improve upon our terrestrial sustainability, the technology and systems needed for undersea habitation will be developed and become more readily available. Likewise, as we push the frontier limits of the undersea realm, unmet needs will result in new advancements here on terra firma. The perfect example is closed circuit rebreather technology. The need and want to explore for longer periods of time and to deeper depths has made way for a significant push in this market over the last 20 years. Simply put for instance – not only the technology for managing an atmosphere that comes with closed circuit rebreathers, but the mindset that is newly ingrained with their end users marks one very small step towards a planetary awareness that everyone should embrace about the delicate balance of managing our Earth’s atmosphere (something we clearly don’t yet have a handle on). On the flipside of this, once we do figure out planetary atmospheric management and ward off the impending doom from a climate crisis and the mass catastrophe headed our way, we, by necessity, will have the tools to take to the sea even more efficiently, and with an appreciation for the human-ocean synergy that needs to be embraced to ensure our future survival. The unfortunate reality, in my opinion, is that we can squawk all we want about preserving and protecting the ocean, but until it slaps us all [the masses] in the face with catastrophic implications, not much will change – at least not in big, paradigm changing ways.
Back on undersea living…
Our curiosity will take us there, but the survival of humanity is what will keep us there. Tides are rising, coastal assets are being destroyed, islands are vanishing, and yet population is booming. If it sounds like a recipe for disaster, it’s because it is. Our saving grace will be figuring out how to live more closely with, and within the sea. I don’t suggest that with any sense of urgency, rather as a prophetic thought to keep our eye on the journey that is unfolding for the human race…it is coming, and will be out of necessity.
So, it’s always fun to take a look at where we are now – the bed and breakfast, or the bivy. There’s something for everyone, and a whole lot more coming. An underwater hotel room is now available in the Maldives, which tips the scales of luxury.
By contrast, there is our little bivy evolution.
Both provide a new experience and new perspective, just as would a luxury resort in the mountains, or an overnight at base camp. All part of a set of human experiences that help to sculpt the world around us.
With that, I say trek forward, through, below, and beneath…there are lifetimes of experiences to be gained, and mountains of knowledge awaiting discovery. It may be that little rock yet overturned changes our planet for the better, and that should be reason enough to stay out there on the edge.